In the last year, shopper marketing has enjoyed a bigger piece of the marketing budget than ever before. In fact, it is expected to show 21% year-on-year growth in budget allocation in 2012 globally. But what is the value of shopper marketing to different brand categories and how should marketers interpret this trend in the South African context?
Jenny Moore - group research director
This year independent marketing strategy consultancy - Yellowwood, built on the findings of its 2011 Engager Survey, by focusing on the FMCG category and assessing the relationship between brand-engagement and shopper marketing. In 2011, the survey measured South Africa's most engaged brands across a variety of categories and one of the key findings was that retail dominated the top 20 brands.
Said Jenny Moore, group research director: "We explored the role of brand engagement in shopper behaviour due to the focus that organisations are placing on shopper marketing today. Globally, shopper marketing is the fastest growing advertising category and in South Africa, although still in its infancy, it is likely to be one of the biggest growth areas over the next few years."
The survey assessed six of the most common grocery categories including: household cleaning, personal care, staple foods, frozen foods, tinned foods and dairy. It evaluated a total of 60 leading brands across the six categories - representing the repertoire of products which the average South African woman has in her shopping basket on a weekly basis. Brands within those categories were selected based on market share, marketing activity and the regularity of their appearance in brand surveys, among other factors. As the aim of the survey was to understand leading shopper brand dynamics, it was necessary to choose established brands.
David Blyth, Group MD of Yellowwood commented: "Insight and measurement are the bookends for sound shopper marketing strategies. While shopper marketing is not in itself a new concept, technology has enabled marketers to study shopper behaviour more closely than ever before, allowing fresh and effective applications of shopper marketing concepts.'
Six leading trends in shopper behaviour were identified against the backdrop of what Yellowwood termed 'the new shopper context', i.e. shoppers who have adapted to recessionary behaviour and have not reverted to more lavish shopping habits. This, for example, means that they are doing more pre-purchase preparation than ever before - often online, making lists of products to purchase and making fewer impulse buys, etc. This has greatly influenced the emergence of the six identified trends, which include:A focus on the in-store experience:
This trend sees greater collaboration between retailer and manufacturer to create a memorable and appealing shopper experience - driving footfall and brand preference.The 'solution' shop:
In a bid to disrupt habitual shopping, more retailers are offering shoppers 'solution' ideas. Be that in the form of 'dinner tonight' solutions such as those offered by the Knorr brand or home improvement solutions such as the bathroom in a box concept from Cashbuild. Not only does this concept ensure that the shopper buys all the products from the same range, but it is also a great way to introduce shoppers to new brands and products within the same environment.The rise of the private label
The private label has become more powerful - especially during the recession, where more shoppers explored private labels and enjoyed their efficacy and price. To counter this, brands need to focus on innovations that add real consumer value (quality, convenience, health and wellness being some of the current values appealing to shoppers) and sound strategies to avoid the discounting trap.Smart phones make a strong online presence critical
The massive increase in access to smartphones has changed the way that South Africans shop. Online shopping was valued at ~ZAR2bn in 2010, with 30% growth projections. This is compared to 7% for traditional retail growth. Leading online shopper activities are price comparisons and product information sourcing whilst content, payment and auto-replenishment apps will be future winners.Shop for convenience
There has been a rapid increase in quick trip shopping patterns, facilitated by increased access to convenience stores in South Africa. Stores such as Woolworths Food Stores and convenience stores accounting for US$1.4 bn revenue in South Africa in 2009 exemplify this.
With these macro trends in mind, Yellowwood's Engager 2012 study was able to define the role of brand engagement in affecting shopper behavior and the implications of how we market to shoppers to get the greatest ROI.
With regard to brand engagement, there was also a clear indication that brand building is hugely beneficial, even in low engagement categories such as tinned food. And the way in which shopper marketing is used to complement brand engagement can drive purchase intent, if used appropriately for high or low engagement categories.
In high engagement categories such as personal hygiene, its role is most effective to re-inforce and reassure shoppers. Furthermore, in high engagement categories, shoppers are more likely to engage with the brand on a variety of platforms. Whereas in low engagement categories, shopper marketing is effective at creating ambivalence and therefore swaying behaviour change in the aisle.
It is therefore critical that marketers understand the interplay between in-store marketing, traditional media and online media in building relationships to drive shopper behavior in their category. It's not only about what happens in the store, at point of purchase but about how shoppers engage with brands along the whole purchase journey.